B vitamins slow Alzheimer’s brain atrophy seven-fold

Amid a devastating epidemic stealing minds and memories, a new study suggests an astonishing 7-fold reduction in Alzheimer’s brain atrophy from a shockingly simple treatment: high-dose B vitamins.

With over 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and no FDA-approved treatments that effectively slow its progression, there is a desperate need for new therapeutic strategies. Despite billions invested in developing medications targeting Alzheimer’s brain plaques and tangles, drug trial after drug trial has ended in disappointment. But an unlikely natural treatment – high doses of three humble B vitamins – may succeed where these drugs have failed.

A groundbreaking new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Douaud et al., 2013) suggests that high-dose B vitamin treatment could slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 7-fold. The double-blind randomized controlled trial included 156 elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), an early Alzheimer’s risk state. Patients who took supplements of folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12 over two years had dramatically less brain atrophy detected via MRI scans compared to patients taking a placebo. Critically, the treatment was most effective in patients with elevated homocysteine levels. By lowering this amino acid, B vitamins reduced grey matter loss in brain regions vulnerable in Alzheimer’s.

The results provide a glimmer of hope amid the litany of failed Alzheimer’s clinical trials. Unlike risky experimental drugs designed to remove plaques or tangles, vitamin B supplements are safe, natural, and already indicated for high homocysteine levels. If these unprecedented findings are confirmed in ongoing trials, vitamin supplementation could offer the first major advancement in Alzheimer’s treatment in over 15 years. With cases expected to triple in coming decades, this affordable regimen could have tremendous potential to alleviate the staggering burden of this epidemic.

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